Observations From the Rink: Monctonian Edition Day 2 and 3

Are Top Prospect Games Important?

The question everyone was asking last night is about as subjective as asking scouts who they “like” early on in a season.

Are top prospects games important?

The answer to that question is it depends!

Yes, I know, that’s not a good answer, but it is what it is.

Scouts across the hockey world always flock to top prospects games because they want to see best on best. They know who’s going to be there or be named to roster, but it’s usually the surprises or omissions that get most of the attention at the end of the day.

Let me you tell you this, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into naming and creating top prospects rosters, so don’t tell me that scouts haven’t done their homework. In saying that, sometimes these top prospects rosters especially early on in the season are somewhat subjective.

Are there always surprises, yes, will the omissions or somewhat surprise additions be the talk of the town or rink for the next few days or weeks ahead yes, but it shouldn’t be the be all end all of a players draft year.

You see scouts are always intrigued in seeing players in different situations and top prospects games like the one we saw on Friday night at the 41st Monctonian Challenge either confirms a scouts early projections or leave them wanting more from the player.

You see it’s all about viewings, it’s all about seeing players in different situations.

Either way the scout hopefully will continue to circle back to those players to get more viewings.

I’m sure if you ask some scouts they hate the thought of prospect games, but yet they are always there because they don’t want to miss something.

A few years back I was very vocal about one players addition to the top prospects game. In the scouting world sometimes you have to stick your neck out a little but for what you believe in. Let’s just put it this way the player in question that I will not name, just because put on a show scoring on a rocket of shot in his second or third shift the game, which was extremely validating, but deep down in that moment I was just so happy for the kid and their family.

You see the sacrifices all the top prospects and their families make is truly incredible and that’s why it’s so hard for them to understand or accept the selection process for these types of games.

Don’t get me wrong these top prospects games are great to see best on best and they do reveal a lot, but they shouldn’t be the be all end all of the scouting process. It’s just another game, it’s just another chapter in the draft year journey which has so many more chapters remaining.

Are top prospect games an accurate assessment of what a player can bring at the next level?

Yes and no, it just depends, on what scouts are looking for, what they are zeroing in on. It’s all about projecting, it’s all about collecting data and intel at different stages of the season. That’s what projecting is all about, seeing potential and projecting that to the next level.

Best on best or the closest thing to it, is always a great indicator of current standing or where a player is right now, remember I didn’t say standing on a list, because that’s for another day or another article.

So for all those that might still be asking the question are top prospects game important, well just put it this way, it depends who you talk to. Who are you talking to at the rink?

“A loss on the ice, a win in the stands”

I’ve been in the scouting game for a while now and I’ve heard and seen a lot. Yesterday I had the absolute honour to sit with the Cape Breton West Islanders parent section in Rink C. Vito’s Vs Islanders, that’s what appeared on my schedule.

Obviously, every rink was quite crowded yesterday, and I got to that game a little late. I’m always a little apprehensive about sitting with hockey parents, but it was so refreshing to hear knowledgeable supportive hockey parents encouraging their son and daughters team.

In this day and age it’s rare to hear positive feedback from the stands.

It’s rare not to hear profanity directed at players and the officials.

The Islanders found themselves down a couple, but battled back against the Vito’s. It was a tremendously hard fought intense game. I left my perch around the parents after 40 minutes. I found myself at ice for the bulk of the 3rd. The positive energy from both sides of the stands was quite something to witness.

Wouldn’t it be great if every rink across our region had that same vibe? Wouldn’t it be great if all hockey parents acting like the Vito’s and Cape Breton West Islanders parent’s did?

“A loss on the ice, a win in the stands.”

“A shit ton of hockey”

A lot of scouts leave showcase tournaments after Saturday’s action to make the trek home. It’s never lost on scouts the amount of sacrifice and toll these players go through to these types of events.

In some cases teams played four games in 25 or 26 hours. There’s absolutely no way for the body to fully recuperate after something like that.

It’s the players that think the game that jump off the page in the later stages of any showcase tournament like the Monctonian. Today champions will be crowned, the real winner in all of this is the game itself.

Believe it or not, the game is a good place right in this region. Obviously, there’s always room for growth especially from a cultural perspective, but showcase tournaments are great place to start.

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, best of luck the rest of way.

See you Rink,

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